Abstract # 7961 Poster # 47:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 26, 2017 06:00 PM-08:00 PM: (National Ballroom AB) Poster Presentation


SEROTONIN RECEPTOR 1A (5-HTR1A) VARIATION IS ASSOCIATED WITH ANXIETY AND AGGRESSION IN CAPTIVE CHIMPANZEES

N. Staes1, C. C. Sherwood1, W. D. Hopkins2,3, H. Freeman4 and B. J. Bradley1
1Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University , Washington DC, DC 20054, USA, 2Neuroscience Institute and Language Research Center, Georgia State University, 3Division of Developmental and Cognitive Neuroscience, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, 4Michael E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
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     The purpose of this study was to investigate proximate genetic mechanisms behind personality in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Personality was measured using two approaches: a personality psychology approach (rating: MD Anderson N=137 chimpanzees, Yerkes N=77 chimpanzees) and a behavioral ecology approach (coding: NIB Center; N=64 chimpanzees). Next, we investigated the association between variation in the gene coding for 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 1A (5-HTR1A) and personality. 5-HTR1A is a 5-HT receptor subtype that binds to serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for regulating anxiety, impulsivity and aggression, as documented in a variety of mammals. In chimpanzees, a C/A SNP is present in exon 1, changing a proline to a glutamine in the amino acid sequence. Genotyping was performed using high-resolution melt analysis and genotype frequencies were in Hardy Weinberg equilibrium (X2=0.19, df=1, p=0.656) with the derived allele present at higher frequency (0.67). Our results show a significant association between genotype and rated item “anxious”, with heterozygous chimpanzees being rated higher than chimpanzees with the ancestral genotype (CC) (F(1,2)=4.06, p=0.019). A marginally significant genotype-testosterone interaction effect was found for the coded factor “Aggressiveness” (F(10,2)=4.405, p=0.051), with males homozygous for the derived allele scoring higher and having higher mean testosterone scores than males homozygous for the ancestral genotype. These results are the first evidence showing that the 5-HTR1A gene plays a potential role in regulating behavior in chimpanzees.